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Mom Upsets Daughter By Selling House She Was Letting Her Stay In For Free For Over Two Years

Person putting 'For Sale' sign in front of house
Grace Cary/Getty Images

Family heirlooms are supposed to be special items and accessories that feel like a blessing, because they remind us of our loved ones, and they make our lives better or easier in some way.

But for some people, the heirloom is too bittersweet of a reminder of the person they lost, empathized the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Unique_Molasses_9987 decided that it wasn’t good for her mental health to hold onto the house she inherited from her mother, even though she’d been letting her daughter live it in rent-free for the past two years.

But when her daughter called her a jerk for not letting her stay, even after doing renovations out of her own pocket, the Original Poster (OP) questioned where they had miscommunicated along the way.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for selling my house that I was allowing my daughter to stay in for free, even though she did some upgrades to it?”

The OP allowed her daughter to rent the house she inherited from her mother.

“I inherited a home years ago from my mother. It was overall outdated but in good condition. It is five hours away from where I live.”

“My daughter (26) and her husband fell on hard times, and I allowed her to move in about two years ago for free. It is near the city where they work. I paid for everything and was letting them use it to get back on their feet.”

“Given the area, I saved them approximately $2400 per month or 57,600 dollars.”

“I informed them they could make changes to the home, just not to take out walls or any huge stuff. The last time I was at the home was about a year ago, and it just looked like they painted.”

Then the OP decided that being a landlord wasn’t right for her.

“The house is causing issues for my finances now, and I have had multiple people reach out to me to sell.”

“I also want to sell it since I am tired of seeing the home. It just reminds me of my mom and that she is gone. So being a landlord isn’t good for my mental health.”

“So I decided to sell.”

“I’ve mentioned before that I want to get rid of the home; I wasn’t hiding the fact that I do not like owning it.”

“I also was very clear that this was to help them out and not a permanent thing.”

The OP’s daughter lashed out at her for wanting to sell.

“I informed my daughter that they have six months to find a new place.”

“This started an argument. She apparently put in a lot of upgrades, such as redoing the stairs, the kitchen, and they are in the middle of redoing the bathroom.”

“She said that I was screwing them over and that now the house is worth more because of them.”

“She called me a jerk for this, and I reminded them I gave them two years of free housing.”

The OP was angry but also felt conflicted.

“I won’t offer for her to buy the house first, because I know they can’t afford it. The home will probably go for around 400 to 500 thousand dollars.”

“Even when it was outdated, it was a big home, with some land and in a very nice area.”

“I have no idea how much the upgrades will add and I am not willing to sell for less than a fair price. I also don’t know if the upgrades are even up to code, so that might even cause problems later.”

“I am on the fence and want more opinions.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought it made more sense to allow the daughter to stay involved with the house.

“YTA. 1000%.”

“Why wouldn’t you offer to sell the house to your daughter? How are the house improvements suddenly new information to you?”

“Why is this imaginary problem of seeing a home you haven’t visited in a year and ‘being a landlord’ more important than your daughter’s well-being?”

“Why are you blaming your daughter for taking you up on your offer for free rent in a house you inherited for free?” – No-Serve-5387

“I’m also really confused about the issue with the renovations. OP is saying the house is a mental burden as well because it reminds them of their late mother. Well, the daughter has now done upgrades to make it their own. If it’s just the fact that it’s their mother’s house is maybe the issue?”

“I just can’t imagine my parents pulling this stunt. If the house they inherited, that I was now living in, was causing a financial burden they would either start charging rent for whatever the burden is (I’m assuming property taxes?) or flat out sell it to me for whatever I could afford. They would never kick me out.” – Jezebelle22

“The house is five hours away. How is seeing it bad for your mental health? Why didn’t you just ask your daughter to start paying rent to cover whatever it was costing you financially?”

“If they’re the ones doing the upgrades, and you didn’t have to worry about late rent since you didn’t charge them any, how is being a landlord bad for your mental health?”

“Seems you like the upgrades, and just want to sell to make a quick buck. Be prepared to never see your daughter or future grandkids ever again. Hope it’s worth it. YTA.” – GoreGoddezz

“I understand the daughter and partner hoping out hope that the OP would decide to ‘just give’ them the house at some point. I do. Maybe even to the point of making the house feel a little more like a ‘home’ with paint and small fixes.”

“But instead of renovating a property that THEY DID NOT OWN, the daughter and her partner should have been SAVING the money they were not paying rent to buy their own place when the inevitable occurred and the golden goose needed to be taken away.”

“Had they been saving their money, they should be thanking the mother for her outright generosity, allowing daughter and partner to live rent and property tax-free for well over two years.”

“If it was not obvious, OP is NTA for wanting the property back and for wanting to sell up.” – dadoftriplets

“It seems like they put in enough work to make the house a lot more marketable and valuable.”

“Please think outside the box, you can sell the house to your daughter and you hold the mortgage. This way, you have a regular income stream from the monthly mortgage payments and your only involvement will be cashing the cheques. If they default on the mortgage you, as the mortgage holder, gain possession of the house (so you would get your asset back and can sell it then) most importantly your daughter gets to own a home.”

“This is definitely the scenario in which everybody wins big. You make more money on the house than you would just selling it and banking the cash, it is a safe investment because as the owner of the mortgage, the house reverts to your possession if they default on the mortgage.”

“This way your child will have the security of being a homeowner, which means she may be able to actually afford children (a rare situation these days) who will have a home in which to grow up. Win-win-win.”

“This is a fairly common investment scenario as it is one of the rare investments where you cannot lose.” – tulipvonsquirrel

Others thought that communication was a key issue with the OP and her daughter.

“They’ve been investing in fixing up the place, so they expected to live there long-term. The question is whether those expectations were set up by OP, or it’s just the daughter and husband making assumptions.”

“In other words, a conversation should have been had on what were the long-term plans for the house.” – LaloEACB

“I can see the origin of some miscommunication and tension with their daughter on this topic. Housing is very difficult to come by right now.”

“OP’s daughter has lived in the house for two years and, whether or not it was officially ‘approved’ by OP, made significant upgrades that added value to the home that he will benefit from. She also likely does not have other options in a very competitive and expensive housing market.”

“If OP is in financial need, why not a compromise where she pays you rent/the mortgage over selling the house from underneath them?”

“I also recommend some empathy for your daughter as well as an honest, calm conversation around how to respectfully continue this arrangement.” – fluoridatedwater

“I think a lot of it is going to come down to how the two of you communicated (you and your daughter).”

“It’s odd that she would do so much work on a house if she knew the plan was to sell. But it’s also a bit odd to not offer your daughter first refusal on the house (which would save you both money in selling fees, etc).”

“I think you definitely need to get a handle on what has actually been done (including permits etc). A new kitchen/bathroom could be anything from some new appliances and cupboard doors to a complete overhaul.”

“She should be able to provide you with invoices etc from any work done and any permits which she has hopefully got. If not, it’s on her to get everything signed off and up to standard.”

“This could get really tough between the two of you, good luck.” – janewilson90

“She can apparently afford the ‘upgrades.’ It looks like she was hoping you’d give it to her.”

“You gave them six months’ heads-up. That’s plenty of time, but I would give them first refusal with a 30-day expiration. I’ve asked the same of my parents and in-laws on a couple of things. If I don’t have the finances that’s on me, but if I’m not even given the opportunity, that’s on them.”

“Ultimately, they aren’t entitled to the house or the ‘upgrades’ they did without your approval. It could technically be considered vandalism as they did it without approval and don’t have the intention of returning it to original condition.” – TraytSader

“I feel like that is more on the daughter in this situation though.”

“Would it have been nice that the mom had a conversation when the burden of the home was starting to become a burden for her? Sure. Especially if the daughter is officially ‘back on her feet’ so maybe she has a chance to buy the home officially.”

“Redoing the stairs and bathroom doesn’t sound like minor or cheap renovations. If there are big noticeable changes, it sounds like they were treating the home like it was going to be their home forever going forward and if they needed to live rent-free to get by, making major changes to a home they don’t own instead of saving for one of their own is just dumb.”

“The daughter needed to start the conversation. Major upgrades weren’t approved. You don’t rent a home, upgrade the h**l out of it, and think that gives you any consideration to be reimbursed. The daughter is the one that went on assumptions without talking and while OP could have communicated intent earlier, it’s not on them for what the daughter did wasting her money and huge favor done for her.” – letstrythisagain30

Whether the subReddit could agree about whether or not the OP should keep the house aside, they could all agree that the mother and daughter had clearly communicated about this poorly.

Somewhere along the way, the OP’s daughter must have thought she had a chance to stay in the house since she’d started renovating, even though the OP did not see it that way.

So many confrontations could be avoided with more communication, not to mention expenses saved.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.